– piano classes is awesome –
Discover why learning to play the piano is so much fun
If you are looking for piano lessons in Mississauga or you just want to learn more about the piano, with no doubt, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you are interested in learning about the classical piano, jazz, pop, rock or any other genre, our teachers at the Mississauga Fine Arts Academy deliver piano classes through a comprehensive curriculum developed explicitly for individuals aged 5 and up.
Piano lessons through variety of styles
The piano is an instrument that inspires awe and evokes happiness. You will never be the same once you learn to play the piano.
Our excellent piano teachers have warm personalities and enjoy sharing their love for the piano. They teach a variety of styles, from classical to popular music. Whether you want to learn Bach or Alicia Keys, our teachers are happy to help you become the pianist you want to be.
Our piano faculty will show you the fundamentals of sight-reading, technique, and theory, as well as incorporate your favourite songs into your lessons.
You are not required to have a piano to start your piano lessons. At the beginning of your piano learning journey, having a simple full-size electronic keyboard will suffice for the first 6 months.
To see the value of our piano classes as well as other instruments we encourage you to check our Free Music Lesons for Everyone – Masterclass Series.
If you want to discover everything there is to know about the piano, you will find this text to be not only informative but also very interesting and inspiring.
In your piano lessons, you learn the fundamentals of piano, history, music theory, ear training, reading music, rhythm, playing the piano with one hand, and gradually progressing to playing with two hands. Then you continue learning more advanced techniques and performance skills with a choice of repertoire that includes your favourite compositions and songs.
What is Piano?
The piano (an abbreviation from pianoforte) is defined as a large keyboard musical instrument with a wooden case enclosing a soundboard and metal strings. These strings are struck by hammers when the keys are pressed. When the keys are released, their vibrations are stopped by dampers and can be regulated for length and volume by two or three pedals.
Check out the video below to see how the piano magic happens.
The word piano has an Italian origin, translated “soft”. As an adjective, the word piano means “performed softly.”
In the 14th and 15th Centuries, quite a few keyboard stringed instruments were developed and used to make music.
The chekker, dulce melos, and clavichords were played with hammers, while the spinet, the virginal, and the harpsichord were plucked by a quill.
The most popular keyboard instruments that look like today’s piano were the harpsichord and the clavichord.
The harpsichord had drawbacks because the loudness and the softness of each note couldn’t be controlled. This meant that the composer couldn’t express emotion in their music.
The clavichord allowed for the strings to continue vibrating as long as the player depressed the key. This meant a better control over the volume of the instrument.
The Italian instrument maker Bartolomeo Cristofori (1655- 1731) of Padua in the Republic of Venice has been credited as the inventor of the very first piano.
Cristofori was an expert harpsichord maker. He was employed by Ferdinando de’ Medici, the Grand Duke of Tuscany as the Keeper of the instruments. (Note Netflix series “The Medici“). He was a very talented instrument maker who was always working and refining the instruments. This led him to invent the first piano around the year 1700.
Cristofori was unsatisfied with the lack of control over the harpsichord’s volume level. He tried to solve this issue by switching out the plucking mechanism with a hammer to create the sound of the more modern piano. This instrument was first named “clavicembalo col piano e forte” loosely translated to “harpsichord that can play soft and loud sounds”. This was shortened to “pianoforte” and then later on simply called “piano.”
This is the only known portrait of the maker. In the bottom right corner, you can see a piano. [source: Wikipedia]
Here are some videos that describe the clavichord, harpsichord, and the piano in more detail, with a hands-on presentation:
Clavichord: Part 1
Clavichord: Part 2
Cristofori piano being played
This first piano was further developed and improved, leading to its endorsement by many musicians and famous composers. The focus on the improvements was to make the piano produce a more robust and sustained sound.
Piano-making, as well as piano lessons taking, flourished in the 18th century. English pianos were known to have heavier mechanisms with louder volume. The Austrian pianos had lighter mechanisms and softer timbre. Some Viennese pianos had black natural keys and white accidental keys, opposite to today’s piano.
These pianos also had two strings per note, leather-covered hammers and wooden frame. Their sound was delicate and light, more like a heavenly sound. Musicians could express their emotions when playing these new and improved pianos. The famous composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed concertos and sonatas for this type of pianos.
Since the day he was born, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was surrounded by music.
His father, Leopold Mozart, was a music instructor who filled the Mozart home with his students. Given this exposure, the 4-year-old Wolfgang developed a passion for music and wanted to learn to play the piano, so he begged his father to give him piano lessons.
He was focused, absorbed, and very intent on learning – even at that young age. Along with this superior ability to play the piano, it was clear that Wolfgang had a significant advantage. He had a passion for music!
He loved listening, playing, and even practicing the most delicate pieces of that time. He had a solution for every piece that challenged him – he played it repeatedly until he conquered it. Also, he loved adding his personal, innovative touch onto those pieces that he mastered playing.
This young child was not just learning how to play the music of other composers, but was actually composing music of his own!
Many other inventions and improvements, including the double hopper (which allowed for rapid repetition of notes and better control of the dynamics), increased the range of the keyboard from six to seven octaves and led to the presentation of the first piano as we know it today.
The Evolution of the Piano
Square piano – is actually rectangular shape with strings running horizontally along with the keyboard. It was designed in France in the latter part of the seventeenth century, was improved upon by German piano designers and commonly used all over Europe.
– Painting of Rosalie Duplant, a famous Opera star, seated at her Mercken square piano in 1793 [source: squarepianotech.com]
Upright piano – developed in the mid to late eighteen hundreds, has strings running vertically, perpendicular to the keyboard. Initially, it was designed to be very tall and elegant, requiring ample space. Later on, the strings were brought down to the floor level, making it easier to fit in smaller spaces and very popular in homes and schools.
The modern standard piano has seven octaves plus a few extra notes, eighty-eight keys made of ivory or plastic, wool-covered hammers and iron frames that can withstand more tension on the strings.
Grand piano – with a beautiful classic look that has stayed the same over the years. The strings on a grand piano run horizontally, perpendicular to the keyboard. The size can be from 4 ½ foot small grand piano to 8 or 11-foot concert type grand piano. With its lid propped open, it produces incredible sound quality, enjoyed by large audiences and in concerts.
Benefits of taking Piano lessons
There are many benefits of learning to play the piano. It goes well beyond learning about this instrument, its history, and playing songs and compositions. Playing the piano and making music have been linked to a healthy body, a healthy mind, and a healthy life.
Here are some of the recognized benefits of playing the piano.
It stimulates the brain – many studies have shown that learning to play the piano leads to improved cognitive functions of the brain, decreasing the risk for dementia and other types of cognitive impairment. There are several studies and here are links to a couple of them, for those who would like to have more in-depth knowledge about the connection between music and cognitive well being:
The following TED-ed [educational] video is a visual presentation of how playing musical instruments can benefit one’s brain.
In children, studying the piano has been linked to faster brain development. Children who take piano lessons can concentrate better, memorize, multitask, and solve problems quicker, which leads to more confidence and better self-esteem. Playing the piano activates areas of the brain that improve math and spatial reasoning.
Improves sensory and motor skills – playing the piano, or any playing instrument for that matter, involves many sensory and motor systems and requires a variety of higher-level cognitive processes, which lead to many cognitive advantages for the player. The pianists develop excellent motor skills and dexterity through the use of each finger and hand independently. Playing the piano helps develop hand-eye coordination and ambidexterity. It also helps with ear development by increasing the ability to recognize rhythms, harmonies, and hear pitch and tone.
Reduces stress and anxiety – it is known to help enhance mood and overall well being. Taking piano lessons has also been used to help individuals with Attention Deficit Disorder.
Teaches listening, patience, discipline, and accountability – students develop discipline by persisting in practicing their lessons, organizing and planning their time wisely, listening to the teacher’s instructions, and patiently practicing their music lessons to produce their desired results. Students are being held accountable by their teachers for their attendance and performance, which helps build accountability in general.
Promotes creativity – when playing the piano, students are enticed to innovate and create melodies and their own compositions. This makes individuals creative and innovative in other may areas of their life.
Improves social skills and teaches teamwork – practicing harmonies promotes social and teambuilding skills.
Playing the piano is very therapeutic, therefore, improves overall health and wellness.
Genres and famous piano players
Classical piano – Students usually start learning classical piano before any other style, because it helps them gain proper music theory and technique.
The classical piano has been played since the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It was performed for royalty and the upper class in Europe.
The first composers to write compositions in this style were: Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven. In the transition from renaissance to baroque, more composers emerged, such as Chopin, Haydn, Handel, Wagner, Brahms, Schubert, and Tchaikovsky.
Bach • Mozart • Beethoven
Classical music is being composed even today, and many composers are actively coming up with new compositions. This includes American composers Phillip Glass and Eric Whitacre, as well as Canadian composers like Steven Gellman, Vivian Fung, and the Mississauga born and raised Larysa Kuzmenko.
Famous classical pianist includes Glenn Gould, Sergei Rachmaninov, Van Cliburn, Lang Lang, just to name a few.
Jazz piano – this style began in the early years of the twentieth century in New Orleans, United States. It was a deviation from the classical style. Its roots are in the blues and ragtime. Jazz melodies include swing, ragtime, boogie, stride, bebop and improvisations. In the early beginnings, famous jazz composers and pianists, including Scott Joplin, James P. Johnson, Duke Ellington and Thomas “Fats” Waller. Some renowned jazz pianists include Bud Powell, Bill Evans, Kenny Barron, Herbie Hancock, Michel Camilo, and our very own Canadian jazz pianist Oscar Petterson.
This is seen in this video (featuring some background biography information):
[source: CBC / youtube.com]
Pop/Rock piano –
Piano was introduced into popular and rock music in the fifties. The electronic keyboard became popular in the seventies. Playing pop/rock piano requires great skill and technical ability. Still, it is a lot of fun, especially when playing in a band. Students love this style mostly because of the many possibilities for creativity, performances, and recording. A shortlist of famous pop/rock piano players includes names like Billy Joel, Elton John, John Legend, and Alica Keys.
Alicia Keys started playing piano and performing at a young age. Her talent for composing music, playing piano, and singing is truly amazing.
In this video, Alicia Keys is performing her ever-popular song “Fallin.”
Musical Theatre piano – being a musical theatre pianist requires different sets of skills compared to the classical or pop/rock pianist. The pianist needs to hone in on listening to the performers, following their performances closely while sight-reading and playing a lot of notes, all along being able to improvise on short or no notice. Popular Broadway composers include Andrew Lloyd Webber, Steven Schwartz, and Steven Sondheim. Famous musical theatre pianists include Jason Robert Brown and Marvin Hamlish. Canadian music theatre composers/pianists include Galt MacDermot and Marian Grudeff.
Here is a video of Jason Robert Brown playing the piano and singing “King of the world.”
Liturgical piano – this is piano playing in religious ceremonies and worship. This type of music has unique melodies with great importance and meaning. Some of this music has been passed on from generation to generation.
Today there are also many new religious compositions and songs recorded or played in spiritual settings for worship. Famous composers and pianists in liturgical piano include David Haas, Sergei Rachmaninoff, and Leonard Bernstein.
Here is a video of worship leader and pianist Micheal W. Smith playing the piano in a big concert type venue.
The Organ is a keyboard instrument that is operated by the player’s hand and feet. The keyboard sends pressurized air through the series of pipes organized in scalelike rows.
The organ was invented long before the piano and modified many times to make it lighter and easier to use. It is often referred to as the “king of the instruments.” The organ is mostly associated with performances in churches. Still, nowadays, the organ is also used in pop/rock and jazz music.
Playing the organ requires even greater skill and coordination. Famous organ players include Johann Sebastian Bach, Argentinian organ player Hector Olivera, and the Anglo-Canadian composer/organ player Healey Willan.
The Mississauga Fine Art Academy is a music school where young talents are ignited and steered towards success. The Academy’s passion is not only to see students fall in love with music and playing instruments but to also spill over their joy and love onto others. Make this world a better place through music, come, and learn to play the piano at the Mississauga Fine Arts Academy.